Watch: Training super trainers in preparation for Covid-19

Debbie Xuereb, a senior infection prevention nurse at Mater Dei Hospital, is one of the nurses training other health care professionals on the novel coronavirus.

Speaking to Newsbook.com.mt, Xuereb explained that training first started with those who work on the frontline – including those who are assigned to Casualties, the Infectious Diseases Unit and the Intensive Therapy Unit.

Training is not limited to nurses, with doctors, other health care professionals and cleaners working in that department being also trained. Training sessions are happening on a daily basis.

Xuereb explained that the approach adopted was of training super trainers within the departments who can then train their colleagues before moving on to other departments which could be also on the frontline. The training included showing them how to use personal protective equipment.

‘Don’t use helpline to report those who are breaking quarantine rules’

Dr Paula Vassallo, who heads the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Department, highlighted that a lot of information is available on the government’s website. People who are not experiencing symptoms and have not travelled to a high-risk country should check out the available to the public and the website.

Dr Vassallo stressed that those who are travelling in the coming weeks or months should contact the helpline at a later date, since any information given at this stage may no longer be valid by then.

In the first few days, the Public Health Department received more than 13,000 calls.

Multilingual doctors are manning the helpline, with Dr Vassallo saying that they received a number of calls from foreigners.

On Thursday, the Malta Association of Public Health Medicine (MAPHM) writing on Facebook said that the helpline was being inundated with calls by people wanting to report others for not respecting quarantine. In a Facebook message, MAPHM urged the public not to use the helpline to report such cases since it took up “valuable time, is not helpful and limits the number of true, genuine questions we can answer”.

“The helpline is meant to respond to healthcare-related questions. Those on the other side of the line cannot do anything about enforcing quarantine, so every second wasted responding to calls such as these means one less second when a genuine case cannot receive the help needed,” the association wrote.

MAPHM said that, people breaking quarantine rules should be reported on quarantine.covid19@gov.mt. The association asked the public not use the other email.